Following a nearly three-month civil trial, a judge has awarded $12.75 million to 22 women who claim they were tricked into shooting explicit sexual content by producers for the website GirlsDoPorn.com.
On Thursday, Judge Kevin A. Enright of San Diego Superior Court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, stating that producers for Girls Do Porn, a website purporting to feature fresh-faced young talent shooting amateur porn, had coerced the plaintiffs into shooting graphic material under false pretenses. The women were awarded $9.45 million in compensatory damages, and $3.3 million in punitive damages.
The 22 plaintiffs, known individually only as Jane Doe, alleged that Girls Do Porn owners Michael James Pratt and Matthew Isaac Wolfe lured them to San Diego to shoot sexually explicit content by posting Craigslist ads for “beautiful college type preppy girls” needed for photo shoots. The ads did not mention that the shoots would involve sex or even nudity.
Once the women arrived in San Diego to shoot, they said, they were lured to a hotel room, where they were plied with marijuana and alcohol. They were then asked to participate in a pornographic video shoot, with the producers telling them that the final product would only be distributed via DVD in foreign countries. The women allege that Pratt and Wolfe also hired a woman, Amberlyn Nored, to pose as a “reference” to reassure them that the final product would not be posted online.
After they had participated in the film shoot, the women alleged they were horrified to discover that the final product had been posted on tube websites such as Pornhub. After they approached Girls Do Porn to try to take the content down, the women say, they were subject to an extended harassment campaign, in which Girls Do Porn producers would contact their friends and family to ensure they saw the videos.
In court, the lawyers for Girls Do Porn alleged that the owners of the website waged no such harassment campaign against the women who appeared in the videos, and that any harassment they faced was the work of anonymous online trolls. The defendants’ lawyers also alleged that the contract the women signed gave Girls Do Porn the right to use the videos “anywhere, anyhow, for any purpose.” (In response, the plaintiffs alleged that the producers had provided them with marijuana and alcohol, thus impairing their ability to thoroughly read the contract.)
In his ruling, Judge Enright sided with the plaintiffs, ruling that the “fraudulent scheme” had led to the women experiencing significant emotional and reputational harm. As a result of appearing in the videos, Judge Enright wrote, the women had become “pariahs in their communities,” causing some to lose their jobs or even become suicidal. Enright also ruled that Girls Do Porn remove the content featuring the plaintiffs from its own website and from any other tube sites where the content had been posted.